Why Puppies and Babies are Not Enough Right Now

I hear a familiar refrain from some people lately that frankly makes my blood boil, perhaps you’ve heard it too:

“I’m so tired of politics. I just wish we could just get back to pictures of puppies and babies on social media!”

On its face it sounds reasonable enough—but it’s also an insult.

Do you know who probably isn’t saying that right now?
Refugee families
Jewish Day School teachers
The people of Standing Rock
Those about to lose healthcare
People with brown skin in cities, near borders, at airports
Single parents who rely on reduced lunches
Women who believe birth control is a right
Undocumented immigrants trying to craft a new life

Muslims raising kids in America
Parents of Transgender children
People with family in the Military—
that’s who.

The luxury of tiring of “politics” is itself a form of privilege. It is a sign that someone is so insulated from the fear and disenfranchisement others are currently experiencing—that they are able to see these things as inconvenience, as histrionics, as annoyances. They are able to tire of the suffering of others and to suggest that this suffering is ruining their good mood. To them, someone else’s pain begins to feel like an intrusion.

The only people wanting political discussions stopped right now, either wrongly believe they aren’t impacted by politics or they’ve lost the ability to be burdened for another human being. In either case, that fatigue is a symptom of a privilege that can afford apathy.

I’m all for puppies and babies. I’ve been firmly in the Puppy/Baby camp for decades. We surely need some softness and joy to temper the hard and horrible things happening around us. Puppies and babies are part of those simple, beautiful things that make life wonderful. They are a sweet, necessary, and welcome distraction—but they are not enough right now.

In these moments, we can’t just settle with the cheap anesthetic of easy things and nice feelings that numb us into complacency, because that is what powerful, malevolent people are counting on. They are counting on us exceeding our threshold for compassion and attention. They are betting that their ability to manufacture suffering will outlast our ability to care—and we can’t let that happen.

This means we have to do the hard work: we have to read and study and understand, that we have to dig deeper and engage, that we have to use every resource at our disposal to boost the signal of those who are not being heard. We have to put on our Big People Pants and sustain our focus longer than 140 characters, so that we can responsibly steward all that we’ve been entrusted with. Justice is not something that comes easily, quickly, or without discomfort.

In our social media profiles and our daily conversations, we have to make space for difficult, uncomfortable, unpleasant things. We have to have wade into the messy, mundane, and not-fun realities about our political process and face the gravity of these moments together.

In fact, we need to wrestle with these difficult things now, in order to craft a future for our children where they have less difficult things; so that they can inherit a safer, kinder, cleaner, more diverse, more loving planet.

We need to be willing to be burdened beyond our current capacity for empathy and activism, so that we leave them something worth inheriting: a life filled with puppies and babies.

 

 

 

 

123 thoughts on “Why Puppies and Babies are Not Enough Right Now

  1. Strong and powerful message. I’m hearing the “I’m ignoring politics right now” and “I’m tired of all of this” too often lately. We don’t need to be unloving but we do need to stay engaged and remain steadfast in speaking truth to power, for all those who cannot speak for themselves. To be able to ignore those voices, we must ignore what Christ tells us to be in the world–his hands and feet and voice.

  2. Thank you, John. Every single day, I spend hours loading stuff to Gloriamarie’s Progressive Petitions that are actions of various sorts because I am not going to hid behind my white privilege.

    For one thing, as a disabled, handicapped, senior with chronic health conditions, I don’t think my white privilege will do me a lick of good and will not protect me or any other human being from the evil that is this present administration.

    If any would like to persist in resistance with me, here’s the link to my group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/gloriamariesprogressivepetitions/

  3. We absolutely must not look away from the horror in the world. You are completely right that the powers of evil are waiting for us to do just that: to grow weary and look away. That’s how evil grows.

    I am curious to hear your thoughts on self-care. It might also be that we sometimes *must* look away, or at the very least back away, so that we can maintain our sanity and capacity for good. It might be a privilege to do so, but it might also be necessary: we are no use to the world if we are emotionally destroyed and fatigued beyond comprehension.

    I suppose it depends on intention. Intentionally blinding oneself to the horrors in the world, and surrounding oneself with soft pleasures is evil. I think that’s what you are speaking to in this post. But then there is the maintaining of good boundaries and having disciplined compassion and empathy for the magnifying of good in the world, and that is very different.

    • S. Bradford Long, you wrote “I am curious to hear your thoughts on self-care. It might also be that we sometimes *must* look away, or at the very least back away, so that we can maintain our sanity and capacity for good. It might be a privilege to do so, but it might also be necessary: we are no use to the world if we are emotionally destroyed and fatigued beyond comprehension.”

      What else could John P or anyone say in addition? What good are to anyone else if we neglect our own self-care? There has to be balance, I believe.

      My model is the airline attendant going through the safety protocols that no one listens to. There is the pantomime of the oxygen mask coming down and the strong insistence that one puts on one’s own mask first and then the mask of any children or helping others because what good is an unconscious or dead parent to a child or anyone else dependent upon one?

      • I love your final analogy: putting on your oxygen mask.

        I’ve also been thinking a great deal about a quote that (I think) came from Thomas Merton: “if you have peace, at least there is peace somewhere in the world.”

        My interpretation is that I have a moral obligation to maintain my boundaries, self care, and inner peace, so that I can cultivate peace in the world. This does *not* mean sheltering myself from horror and injustice so I never get upset. That’s not peace, but a form of profound suffering. Rather, I think it means radical presence – and good boundaries, integrity, and compassion for self and others in the midst of that presence.

        • It is actually a sound psychological principle that “the first person you must save is yourself. Until you have a firm foundation, you cannot provide a foundation for others.”

          This doesn’t imply selfishness, but the acceptance of the finite nature of your mental and physical (as well as financial) resources. If you ‘break’ yourself attempting to help others, what you are really doing is compounding the problem.

          Take stock of who you are and what you can do, keep yourself in a capable state and sally forth knowing that it is ‘okay’ to not save everyone. Save one person … then another, if you are able. If enough of us do just that, we would transform the World.

          When you realize you are strong, determined yet finite then you can accept the weight of the World is NOT on your shoulders. It becomes easy to put aside the unwarranted anger, grief and disappointment that there is so much to do ~ that it appears to be an impossible task. You become virtually unbeatable because no external calamity can drag you down. It will not break you and you, unbroken, are an unstoppable force.

          Peace be with you.

          • JD, …. i agree, it’s better I put on my life jacket before I jump in the water to save someone.

            however, …’there is no greater love than this, to lay ones life down for a friend.’

            [ doesnt include saving Self first.]

            I guess one is mutually minded, and the other is love.

        • Dear S. Bradford Long,
          I very much enjoyed your comments here. Very much. Thank you.

          And one other thing, that quote, “if you have peace….” is from Thomas Merton. I’ve only scraped the surface of his brilliance, but I do know that was him, I just wish I could remember where from.

          I wish I had more time at the moment, as would like to have left more comments for you. I’ll come back to this later though. Thank you, again, for your inspiring thoughts.

      • S. Bradford Long, I understand exactly what you are saying as I myself had to back away for awhile as the constant barrage of negative information was really affecting my psyche. I am a 61 year old women of color with chronic health issues and am fully aware that we are at a critical point in our nations history. It is sometimes hard to see and hear the anger and xenophobic attitudes all around you especially when you are not sure what you can do to make a positive difference. I am not giving up and will speak up and do whatever else I am able to try and reverse this backwards trend we seem to be on but I also know sometimes you need to take a little time to recharge your energy.

        • Dear Evelyn
          I am a 61year old man of the color white,
          and I just want you to know that I am behind you, and all of us. I am sorry that our culture has not evolved far enough along yet to the point where you would not be put in the position of having to deal with the ubiquitous ignorance all around us.

          You just do what you can, and are able to tolerate, then rest. And don’t worry that it’s not enough – I got ya covered and more, and I’m glad to.

        • Dear Evelyn Raymond, I hear you. We must keep our sanity. I do it but ignoring the fake news and various internet trolls.

          One way to persist in resistance is my FB group, Gloriamarie’s Progressive Stuff, where I post actions, petitions, info, actual news, evidence, facts. There’s a pinned post that I highly recommend people read. I also ask a screening question so I can keep the spammers and the trolls out. All who read this are invited.

          https://www.facebook.com/groups/gloriamariesprogressivepetitions/

      • Dearg Gloriamarie,
        As usual, your words are so right on target. I, too, really liked the oxygen mask analogy. Perfect.
        As always, thank you. I am so glad you are here.

    • I can offer you my personal method of dealing with this particular situation. I have several chronic illnesses, including chronic depression and stress-anxiety syndrome. Both of these are tied very closely to my emotional state of mind. Having a non-stop input of everything that 45 and his minions are doing was literally making me suicidal and in unbearable anxiety, at the constant verge of panic attacks. So, for my own health, I have chosen to limit that input. I only go on FB about every 2 or 3 days and I try not to get sucked into reading all the posts about “what he’s done now”. Just reading the headlines gives me enough of an idea that I feel I have an ongoing understanding and awareness of the political world. I choose which stories I will read and let the others go by. I have (mostly) stopped commenting on any post that involves politics because my writing the words can actually lead to the same feelings as the hearing of each new act of atrocities. I am also blessed with a husband who is a political beast, and he will tell me about the latest egregious action–unprompted, haha.
      I KNOW what is going on. I resist 45 and his agenda by denying him MORE coverage in favor of kindness and love–I share cat pictures! I can acknowledge evil without needing to be steeped in it. Frankly, my opinion of 45 is low enough that I have already thought about all the things he could–and might–do and how I would respond.
      He terrifies me, for a variety of reasons. On a VERY personal level, I am particularly afraid for my very own life. I am disabled, as is my husband. We do not have jobs but he gets SSDI and I get a check from a long-term disability insurance company. Hubby is on Medicare and I am on MediCal, CA’s version of Medicaid. Now I get most of my healthcare from the local VA clinic as a veteran, but that does not alleviate my concern. It is very possible that the ACA will go away at some point; there is constant blather about privatizing various government agencies–including Medicare/Medicaid–that could mean we lose healthcare. Even the VA’s care could stop if the decision is made to reduce its budget or just do away with that department altogether. Just writing that has increased my anxiety level, so imagine what the realization of those ideas would do to me!
      45 is evil; he is a textbook example (and is actually being used as such in psychology classes across the country) of a Narcissistic Sociopath. The people around may or may not be NS, but they certainly cater (suck up!) to him, feeding and stoking his ego.
      Well, all this to say: only take in as much as you can handle and that amount has to be measured across time (daily updates versus 2 or 3 times a week) for the effect it has on your mental and emotional states. Find alternate subjects/topics to distract yourself from the clown car in DC; seek out specific Internet sites that are uplifting, inspirational, loving, and everything thing else that is the antithesis of 45. (Start with the FB page, “Love Matters”.) I also suggest going over to Medium.com and finding stories/articles that provide some break from the clusterf*** of our current regime. I mean, administration.
      Yes, we need to be informed and keep awareness of the things that 45 is doing (and what his minions are up to as well). We need to speak up and speak out about that–but we do need to take care of our own mental and emotional health in the way that best ameliorates the damage of government-subsidized hate.

  4. Once again you have found the words I needed. For me, this is the best answer to those people who keep saying “get over it”. When humanity is hurting our call is not to “get over it”, but to get on with it, the helping, the resisting, whatever it takes to help the least of us because it is the right thing to do, and who knows, in the process we just might help all the others. Wonder where we would be if the people who came before us “got over it”. Thank you for giving me a safe place, most of the time, to say that which is in my heart without the fear of condemnation. And to all my fellow journeyers ………Love & Peace……………………..

    • Your own words are a gift, too. I love “When humanity is hurting our call is not to ‘get over it,’ but to get on with it….”

    • Thanks for all of the input today from the posters.
      Perhaps it is time to dust off that old saying, ‘If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.’
      With some members of the GOP, in the wake of Sessions’ admission of contact, with the Russians, and his failure to disclose them, they are now calling for him to recuse himself, and at least have an independent commission look at the possible interference from the Russians. We need that independent body NOW.

      • Major, I second that. My husband and I have signed petitions, I as a little old lady, he as a vet, we are making phone calls. If everyone would do just some of this we could make a difference. Peace…….

      • There’s nothing to see here. There was no lie and our impeccable Attorney General did nothing wrong. More treachery from the Dems who have nothing else to offer. They just want to take out Trump and thwart his good work which is a threat to their power base. Those with TDS are going to end up looking silly again.

        • Well, Anonymous, both of my Senators are Republicans and they want a full investigation, and possibly the resignation of our “impeccable Attorney General”. I am an Independent, and I don’t know why you feel it necessary to trash the Democrats – there are numerous Republicans and Independents who have voiced the same concerns. Jeff Sessions does have a well-documented history of some pretty controversial actions and attitudes, has lost Federal Judicial appointment in bi-partisan voting, and could have EASILY cleared up any potential misunderstandings during his confirmation hearings by explaining the situation with his meetings with the Russian Ambassador when he was asked about any knowledge of Russian contact MULTIPLE times. It seems to me that if he felt he was doing nothing wrong, he would not have had any problem bringing that up when asked. He clearly stated that he had no contact, and with his level of experience in government, he clearly knew how important it would be to be forthcoming.

      • NOW. AMEN. Even previous administration attorneys of both parties have commented publicly about how egregious this is, one stating “misleading a Senate hearing is a good way to go to jail”. CBS Evening News.

      • Major, I find nothing old-fashioned about that adage. It has always been relevant.

        One way to persist in resistance is my FB group, Gloriamarie’s Progressive Stuff, where I post actions, petitions, info, actual news, evidence, facts. There’s a pinned post that I highly recommend people read. I also ask a screening question so I can keep the spammers and the trolls out. All who read this are invited.

        https://www.facebook.com/groups/gloriamariesprogressivepetitions/

  5. Render unto Ceasor what is his… If your calling is to be a politician then become one and change the things you don’t like. Otherwise if you are really a minister then preach the word of God not your own speculative, conditional, prejudicial musings. Clean up your own bad habits, become and ideal example for others and start acting like a minister… not just another radical brat who lost in the sand-box of public elections. You do your part God will do his. You be fuzzy, duplistic, and “luke warm” about your own faith in God and that’s the way the whole world will appear to you. Ranting is a form of mental illness and there is a whole lot of it going on all over this blog.

      • Children call each other names… a tactic you started. Adults address the issues placed in the discussion. So far with the exception of a few, most people on this blog have completely failed to do that. You my dear are one of the worst offenders. I am still waiting for someone to tell me WHO is in control if they have such little faith to realize that GOD is ALWAYS in control. Just see how many people then leap to the assumption that I am therefore condoning we can just sit around and do nothing… or that we are some type of autotronic- per-programmed robots…. You chastised me for not asking you a clear question but I have done so three times and still I get no answer. If you are so certain GOD is not in control… then who is? Or is the whole universe just running wild on it’s own like the Athiests insist?

        • No, mayesvara, I am not calling you any names at all. I am merely stating an obvious fact. You may certainly interpret that fact however you want, but it won’t change the fact.

          You, on the other hand, without knowing John P personally or being a qualified mental health professional made several assertions which you have no business doing. That is why the facts conclude you are a troll.

          Good day to you

          • Lets see:
            “I name you troll.”
            “I am not calling you any names ”
            Whoaa… serious disconnect going on here… that is what is obvious… that type of denial implies some type of mental illness… or gross lack of coherent thinking.
            As far as John P. is concerned… He is known by all the “Opinions” he posts. He may be a very nice person if we met…. but it is he who is pushing the political cry baby stuff which I believe is a misuse of his talent as a priest.
            As for you my dear… don’t waste my time with your silly comments until you answer the question I have posted now FOUR times. (another sign of someone not paying attention, or in denial, or mentally ill…) If you are so wise then pray tell who IS in control of it isn’t God?”
            Mr. Troll

    • Dear mayesvara:

      Preaching the word necessitates pointing out that the god of Donald Trump’s “America first” nationalism is not the God revealed in the Bible. Are you good with that?

      Blessings!

      • Thank you for a coherent question and not just more self declared bravado which prevails all over this blog.
        All forms of politics are ugly, deceptive, and for the most part a big distraction to what our real focus should be. If we delve into who is better between Hillary and Donald it gets really messy because Hillary is a baby killer and one of the most distrusted people for the last several generations.
        SO politics just divide us when we should be reaching out to unite with people of ALL faiths to rally a single force against the very intentional and demoniac atheists like Christopher Hitchens, Danial Dennet, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Lawrence Krauss etc. These people are the real challenge in front of us… not the usual mundane fight for the white house which changes every four years. Donald surprised a lot of people two days ago with his extraordinary speech. Yes he may have difficulty doing all he said… but who can really find fault with what he said he wants to do? More important for us is to see what these embolden atheists are saying and DOING because they are doing a whole lot more destruction then these seasonal politicians. John P. just isn’t really that mature in his realizations but seems instead to really like being the pied-piper for all the disenfranchised. Challenge for John P.: Step up to the big plate and change the focus of your blog to debunking all these incredibly arrogant and very demoniac openly declared atheists and leave Donald and the political world alone… it’s divisive and it doesn’t become you.

        • All politics are NOT ugly, and to hold that position, is to teach children a lie, and make them disparage that institution.
          It was in part the acts of the US Government, that have made, and sustained this nation and it’s people for over two centuries.
          Also, your attitude is a cop-out. You would teach people that religion don’t mix. The truth is that our ‘ American religion’ has been a fount of many legitimate values over those days.
          It is also the case that the government has been responsible for keeping many of the excesses of religions from doing harm to many Americans, especially children. It is an interesting relationship between the two, and each may offer a corrective to the other’s errant ways.
          John’s blog offers ideas on this scale:
          That is his right, and I suspect would say his duty.
          Your attempted isolation of the two is a mistake: I will admit, that it is a difficult path, this interplay of religion, ethics and politics. When it works, we are all the better for it.
          I guess you are satisfied with just being part of the problem. If I am mistaken about that, please tell me why.

        • Dear mayesvara:

          If by ‘baby-killer’ you mean that Hillary Clinton supports abortion and is therefore a ‘messy’ candidate, I would be remiss not to indicate that when President Bush had control over both houses, this practice was not stopped.

          I’m going to stick out my neck and say that abortion is retained as a GOP trump card; were abortion ever banned, many evangelical ballots would be up for grabs.

          Hillary Clinton was a messy candidate because she was the Wall Street candidate, because she is the intelligence/military community candidate, and [above all] because she is, in my opinion, a war criminal.

          In opposition to the assertion that all forms of politics are ‘ugly, deceptive, and for the most part a big distraction,’ I would point you to the politics of the Kingdom of God. As a Christian who is also a dedicated socialist, I contend that the Kingdom of God is the ONLY politics allowed the believer.

          As for your assertion that politics splinters a supposed real obligation to unite with all faiths against atheists, I have to ask whether that is a premise or a conclusion. If it is a premise, I want to know why I should believe it. If it is a conclusion, I want to know what premises make it so.

          As I see it, the regulation of faith and unbelief has no semantic and therefore no logical connection to any proposition related to the modern secular state, or to the governance thereof. Your post at 11:32 here [ http://tinyurl.com/zfa8bvq ] may be read to imply a similar take on Church/State separation [i.e., go into politics or ministry].

          I posed my question to get insight into your perspective. Come to find out, you very much relate faith to public life; in fact, you apparently regard elections as referendums for theism. So I’m left wondering whether you see JP as a poor clergyperson because he disagrees with you politicall.

          Still, that’s an odd formulation since JP’s current post [at least] made no reference that I could find to Trump, Christ or Christian or Christianity.

          Regarding demonic powers, have you considered that whenever War, Famine, Pestilence and Death bestride the earth, it is because the four horsemen are unleased upon it? Seen from that perspective, it might be asked whether the state is not Christian so much as demonic/anti-christ.

          Still, that seems to me more a theological question than a political one. So where you advise JP to…

          ‘leave Donald and the political world alone…’

          … would it be equally appropriate for Donald and the political world to leave Christ’s Kingdom alone?

          If I could offer two closing suggestions:

          1] Civic life has the strength to stand on its own and must be allowed to do so without being subsumed into theological discussion. And while faith or its absence will probably always shape political involvement, no just religious/political test can be constructed.

          2] If you believe that people are being immature or unfair, perhaps the best approach is not to reference that at all and simply state your concerns as dispassionately as possible.

          Blessings!

          • I think the evidence is Very Clear that mayesvara is that prolific troll Benny/Joe/Lone/ Let the…/Everyone …/ Peter/Phil/ some of the anonymous and whatever he used yesterday.

            We know it from his nasty reaction to being named a troll and because he is back on his one issue obsession with women’s bodies.

          • Thank you Richard and Gdd, for your thoughtful comments. For the most part the politics we see in the world today is very corrupted. Yes of course there are some exceptions and Bravo to those people who go to Washington and don’t succumb to all the dirty dealings, horsetrading, and legal bribery.
            Yes it is my premises that far more important then the ever changing political climate is the bold faced frontal assault from the Atheists as I already mentioned. We need to unite with other faiths under one God believing canopy to address the issues they are pushing… Like: “Teaching a child religion is child abuse.” Atheism is growing rapidly. The issues in our political preferences will just divide us. I prefer we focus on what we agree on. There is a God… He is IN control, and life goes a lot better when we live with that understanding.
            Yes I agree dispassion is better… but there are some people on this site who are so wrapped up in their own delusions it’s impossible to communicate with them coherently regardless of how gentle one is. Sometimes strong statements shake the truth out and if not, no loss no foul.
            Thank you for your astute suggestions and courteous decency!

            • Dear mayesvara:

              The proposition that we are to ‘unite with other faiths under one God’ is fraught with problems and is a religious question.

              This is not the proper concern for government.

              The church has no right to frame a constitution or government for the state.

              The state has no right to frame a creed or polity for the church.

              Church and state are as planets in concentric orbit.

              Blessings!

  6. John, your writing is inspiring. Thank you. When I have posted my political thoughts on FB lately I have had an enormous amount of feedback. The negative feedback usually includes comments like: “What are we going to do about it?” “He won, just get over it.” “What evidence do you have about his misconduct?” I

  7. This post is timely JP. I was thinking this the other day– how easy it is for me to tune out what is going on in the real world, right now, because I have the freedom and privilege to settle back in my comfy chair and enjoy cute cat videos and lovely Bible verse affirmations without feeling any anxiety that my world will coming crashing in on me, but then I felt guilt over it– because it will lead to complacency. Complacency is a sin of omission. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. I would love to give up. It’s my grand daughters 3rd birthday. When I look at her (and my other grandchildren and great grandchildren) I envision a world where she is allowed to be what she wants to be, to love who she wants and see the good in people.
    For her and the millions of others I will continue to sign petitions, call politicians, visit their offices and march.
    Religion deserted me many years ago but faith did not.
    Jesus loves the little children. And all of us too.
    May the God of all mankind guide us and give us the strength to resist.

  9. Thanks, John. I have posted news regarding many events on social media in the last few months and have been criticized or de-friended. Many posts were about politics, but some were about the events you mentioned. One person said she was sick of the politics after the elections and I told her to bear with people who were upset. I have since checked and she is no longer a friend. One person went as far as to say “Make Facebook fun again.” The only concern comes with a change of profile pictures when a disaster happens somewhere in the world. It quickly changes in five days and the event is forgotten. Why do people desire to be so isolated and disconnected from the pain of others? Perhaps it is because of our independent American culture. Choosing to be numbed to the tragedies of life is a tragedy in itself. If I choose to stop caring about the pain of others, I must stop calling myself a Christ-follower.

  10. John, thank you so much for this. It speaks to my condition. Left me in tears. Because I feel heard. I seem to be surrounded by very well meaning friends who just don’t get the seriousness of this all, who talk about self-care. Obviously we need to do the latter but when that means doing nothing, I can’t go there. My heart continually breaks for people like those you describe above, people living in fear. I wouldn’t choose it any other way; my grief fuels my actions. But it is isolating. Now, I also need to find ways to dance with this, to enjoy the puppies and babies still, find the joy in life,

  11. The only thing worse than the “I am tired of politics” thing is the “It is just politics” thing–like it is all a game with teams and doesn’t really matter that much–someone wins and feels excited or someone loses and is disappointed, but it isn’t going to affect anything else.

    • For me… If we let Govt become an intrusion in our lives then we ate fighting a losing battle. Conservatives are merely batting down Govt back to a size that is reasonable & manageable and more cost effective. Some Americans have grown too use to Govt being the answer to all tjeir problems. 15% is about the right ratio… Not 47% like we have today. Im mildly bothered by politics…because I my purpose lies elsewhere this short time on earth.

        • Gdd. Sorry i dont know how to answer that question. A point i was trying to make is that JP and progressives are too vested in Govt. I think we are free to make a life for ourselves regardless of which way the Political Winds blow. Trumps policies will lift many Americans into middle class. The middle class is notorious for ‘giving back’ and contributing to better their communities. Very few will slip thru the cracks. Fewer than do now.

          • Dear leslie m.:

            That question reflects the perspective that as government is weakened, that corporations gain strength and begin to function as mini-nations.

            They decide who can work, where they can work, when they will work, and on what terms they may work — including whether they will have a livable wage, products that are safe to use or consume, etc.

            It seems to me that if one cannot answer those questions for themselves, how ‘free’ are they?

            It seems to me that the sins and woes usually attributed to government will — in the absence of all government regulation — be left for corporations to decide.

            Hence the question — if un-elected corporations write the rules, in what sense are we ‘free?’

            Perhaps we are not ‘free’ whatever way the political wind blows.

            Personally, I see no conceivable reason for the proletariat [working class] to be elevated regardless of who is in office.

            What I see is war interminable. And the working class will never accept that without massive police state repression and the revocation of civil rights.

            So again — how are we better off if gigantic, multinational corporations call the shots?

            Blessings!

            • Gdd. I don’t have an issue with Corporations. I think Microsoft, Coca-Cola and Toyota are wonderful. I love buying their products, and its a good value. I’m looking forward to having some of their regulations lessened in the near future. If the prices go up or down, I will adjust.

              • Dear leslie m.:

                The problem is, those ‘products’ are worker made, and are produced by worker exploitation.

                As for weaker regulations, expect to see the impact of that in terms of injuries and lives lost.

                Blessings!

  12. You wrote, “we have to dig deeper and engage” – Agreed.

    In the dig deeper part… let’s dig deeper into the Milk & Meat of God’s word… comparing everything we see and hear from this world’s system to what the bible tells calls Right & Wrong and what the bible instructs us to do with regard to “Engaging”… we must do it God’s Way and not “what seems right unto a man”.

    Man’s logic is no match for God’s Logic (Theo-logy)

    Jeremiah says, “The heart is deceitfully wicked.”. According to thatbit of wisdom – we can’t follow our hearts on these matters. We must look higher into God’s Logic to find the solutions.

    Have you studied any portion of scripture today?

    • Dear David:

      While no Christian is going to argue with the premise that believers ought to read Scripture, I can’t help but wonder whether you intend fore Bible reading to serve as a substitute for knowing public policy at a deep level and responding to it in kind.

      If you intend to prove Marx’ dictum that religion is the opiate of the masses, you’ve struck on the right strategy.

      Blessings!

  13. Thank you, John. Your words seem to resonate with me every time I read them. I consider what we are experiencing to be a “national tragedy”. I agree, puppies and babies aren’t enough. It is times such as these that we must remain diligently aware and involved. As people of faith, we are called to action, and must not turn a blind eye.

  14. Yeah. Im reading Exodus right now. And how pharohs magicians were able to duplicate Gods miracles. … But only up to a point. Interesting. Makes me think that we need to guard ourselves a little more. Against deceivers.

    • Dear leslie m.:

      Have you considered not only the degree to which but also the ways in which contemporary culture imitates Pharaoh’s regime?

      From Pharaoh’s standpoint, wouldn’t the Hebrew upstart be the ‘deceiver?’ Presumably, the dedicated know the stories. Question is — how do you know how apply so that so as to be certain that you are not among the deceived?

      Blessings!

      • Pharaoh acknowledged Moses’ God, and often asked for prayer and favor. He was fickle.

        I have a biblical world view. So when I say deceiver, I mean Satan, and those following him, and those doing his work (anyone who is anti-Christ). I’m not impressed that the ungodly view Believers as deceptive –Of course Satan would say that. Their eyes are veiled. So what they see is a distortion.

        • Dear leslie m.:

          And what does a ‘biblical world view’ mean in context of support for discretionary war, and attacks on the poor and weak of society because those things make our investment portfolio happy?

          As a believer in Jesus Christ, I’m not impressed by the consequences of many things on which Christians insist. But then, I happen to believe that the church in the West [and in North America in particular] is in a state of theological apostasy and ongoing collapse. As I see it, the fundamentalist/evangelical community has by in large bought into the principalities and powers of this age.

          The problem with the conjunction of church and state is that while it does not ‘christianize’ the state, it most assuredly does prostitute Jesus Christ.

          As an inheritor of Kuyperian theology, I’m rather familiar with the concept of a Christian world-and-life view. My friend Michael Goheen has done considerable work in that field.

          But I fail to see how much of what passes as American politico-evangelical ‘Christianity’ has anything to do with God’s historic, redemptive purposes of grace.

          Blessings!

  15. Puppies! Babies! Blech. My birth religion made me into an outsider before I was 10. So I’ve never cared for the status quo. As a disenfranchised human- I made a bad voter choice early on- then later- I made an independent voter choice which proved pointless- and then couldn’t vote for a specific democrat (because of another democrat’s behavior) and got stuck with W for 8 years. And not a single decision ever made me feel like all hell was about to break loose- but that’s how I feel now. And it’s because we’ve been moving towards the world you hope for- John Pavlovitz- and a whole lotta (religious) people don’t want to see that world unfold- as it is a threat to their (utterly dysfunctional) Belief System.
    So walk a mile in my shoes! Go through Straight Conversion Therapy- change your sexual orientation- become “a gay” and then live for 50+ years being bashed by heterosexist religionists almost every day. I despise politics- and this last political cycle was the worst any of us have ever seen. 47% of eligible voters didn’t. Hated the choices or couldn’t be bothered.
    And now we have a bunch of criminals running things- and it’s their admitted intent to destroy the thing they are running. And they don’t care one whit for the marginalized communities they hope to decimate. And their ignorant leader used every negative trick in the book to fire up and simultaneously con his ‘believers’ into their support- full well knowing his intent was to damage them right along with the rest of us. Because- billionaires rule! So if you missed how his fear-mongering allowed a Dark Force to take over- then your head is firmly planted in the ground.
    So no- apathy isn’t functional right now. A civil war is unfolding. A religious group wants its religious beliefs to be the (sharia) law of that land. And they don’t just want us disenfranchised- they want anybody who doesn’t think like they do- dead- and out of the way.
    People who only want babies and puppies will die along with everyone else if/when someone starts dropping nukes. No more puppies. No more babies. WAKE UP- or die.

  16. I share your posts in an effort to let my friends understand why I’m always posting “negative political stuff.” You explain profound thoughts in an objective, accessible manner that’s very helpful in allowing others to “get it.” Thank you, John….and take care of yourself too….puppies and babies now and then 😊

  17. In some of my FB world, I see lots of posts such as, “Which shoes to buy? These? or These? Oh well, guess I’ll just have to buy both!! Tee Hee” And I just. can’t. I have not unfriended said person, but I have unfollowed her. I love shoes as much as the next shoe-loving person, but in the absence of also posting things of substance – ever, I just have to get this stuff off of my newsfeed. Likewise, the friend who just constantly posts (brags incessantly) about her luxury vacation. “Having drinks poolside with hubby … now having drinks on the beach,” etc. etc., with photos. I am truly happy for people’s happiness and good fortune, and I am blessed to have much of my own. But I just. can’t. deal. I too go shopping and plan trips… but there is simply far too much at stake for too many good people, to not at least intersperse our self-absorption with *something* meaningful to our larger community. It’s the folks that post this kind of stuff – not so much the “puppies and babies” contingent – that really get under my skin.

    • Ummm … okay, but do you follow/friend anyone with opposing, or alternate views? If not ~ are you worried about becoming trapped in your own Echo Chamber? The problem is, if you don’t know where people are coming from, you don’t know how to fight back. If the only people you are convincing already agree with you, you aren’t getting anything done.

      Perhaps you should be nicer to your friend who has stopped talking about politics for now … so that you don’t come across as such “a heel” when things pick up next year, during the mid-term elections. You will need them – and others. President Trump’s ability to get things done, or not, depends on a cooperating Congress and 2018 is the first real chance to change that. With seat retention running close to 90%, it will take hard work to switch the balance of power … and every vote.

      Be a friend.

      • JD …if i may say, you’re a little out in left field. i enjoy your creativity. super creative. interesting juxtapositions, and enjoy the multi-layered lattice around some of your thoughts.

  18. You put into words how I feel but am unable to articulate. My circle of friends of both political persuasions are feeling overwhelmed and retreating into distractions and denial in response to the daily insults to truth and decency (done in our names) by this administration. I try to explain we are called to be Christ’s hands and love with Christ’s heart especially at times like these! But I’m not getting through…and I’m not always leading by example.
    Thank you for speaking so truthfully about why Christians must not retreat now, but instead become emboldened with LOVE for the oppressed “stranger” who comes into our sphere. (By “stranger” I’m thinking anyone who’s not a white, heterosexual male US citizen!)

  19. This posting is such a joke! Any time a conservaative person speaks, the far left lunes come out of their hiding, and they begin their typical cry: “you’re hateful”, “you’re a bigot”, and all the rest of the liberal nonsense. Please grow up!

      • Major, I thank you so much, sometimes I am just left speechless and then you come along, and sir, it’s perfect. You have done it several times today, By the way, you keep me out of trouble, because they don’t seem to want to gang up on you, they see an old lady and it’s a different, maybe their grandmothers didn’t love them enough. And yes that was probably snarky, what I just wrote, sometimes they push you to it. Anyway that was what my kids and grandkids used to say when they got caught. They made me do it. I don’t know but I thank you. Peace………………..

      • Richard H. RAndall, Major, USA (ret.)

        Second that!

        More importantly, thank you, sir, for your service. I would also like to say that I have not seen you post here before, but having read your several replies today makes me hope that you will continue. Your awareness, understanding, and ability to articulate these often hot and complex topics is refreshing and uplifting. Though not retired, as a veteran myself, I feel qualified to say that your words here today are a shining example of the kind of people that make up our military.

        Thank you.

    • Hi Wayne,

      I don’t know if you are identifying yourself as a conservative, but from what I’ve seen, I don’t believe that people here pick on people with conservative viewpoints. I know that I don’t, or at least I don’t intend to.

      I think that what tends to elicit anger or retaliatory comments from others is when someone shows up on any site with a predisposed, judgemental or sarcastic attitude. That guarantees pushback – most people are pretty intolerant of being treated as a “dumping ground” for someone else’s anger mismanagement, especially when it’s mislabeled simply as “one’s rightfully conservative viewpoint”, or “one’s rightfully liberal viewpoint”. Provocative is provocative wherever you go, and if it’s rooted in pre-existing anger, it will almost always result in the kind of responses you mentioned. Based on your language and criticism of others, I can see why.

      • Edward, anywhere you go social media, liberals are always screaming, crying, and hollering about the belief systems of Christians and conservatives! That is especially true when it comes to the LGBT community!

        • Well, okay Wayne, I can tell that you’re really unhappy with your interpretation of what you see, but let me just run this by you.

          First of all, it’s kind of hard to tell if you’re just here to rant and dump the anger you aren’t able to deal with on someone else by using labels and criticism that you know will be distasteful to many of the people here so you’ll feel better, OR if you’re upset with the things you see around you, but are genuinely trying to resolve the conflict you feel inside. It seemed like it was mostly the former, but since you decided to reply, I think you might be leaning in the direction of the latter, and I admire that.

          I’m sorry that I don’t have enough time to finish my reply to you right now, but it’s very late. If you are still interested in reading the rest of what I’d like to say, I intend to continue my post to you by mid-day Friday.

        • Hi Wayne, sorry it took me a little longer to get back here. This is the rest of my reply.

          I heard the term, “accurate reporting” years ago (nothing to do with news media), which is critically important in relation to how we communicate with others. It’s about not using superlatives, or any form of extreme labels for what we’re talking about, descriptions that are very narrow or one sided, or making generalizations about groups of people or ideas. When people communicate in those terms, they rapidly lose credibility. The same goes for offensive, judgmental, demeaning or prejudiced language.

          You said, “anywhere you go, liberals are screaming, crying, and hollering …etc, etc,…about conservatives”. It’s actually not “anywhere you go”. It’s not that way when you go a conservative site, where they’re “screaming, crying, and hollering about liberals”. From your two posts, it seems like you are trying to justify being angry because there are so many people that are criticizing your conservative beliefs, but you left out the part where those “liberal” people are criticized by those with conservative beliefs in the same way. Do you think that maybe they are angry for the same reasons you are? Is your anger any more justified than their anger? No, of course not. So you can’t justify your attitude by blaming it on them when you are exhibiting the same behavior. Nor could they justify their bad attitude by blaming it on others like you if they are exhibiting the same critical and offensive behavior.

          The other parts of this are the generalizations. Neither conservative nor liberal values and beliefs are “bad”. People tend to use those generalizations too freely (I used them above only to remain relevant to this discussion). There is a very large group of people, about 60% – 70% of the population, whose beliefs are reasonably right, or reasonably left of center. Then there are the far right and far left. There are people across the spectrum who may disagree with the current state of things and are angry, but are able to be civilized and are able to express their beliefs without “demonizing” or disrespecting those with different beliefs. They’re rational. And then there are those across the spectrum who are unwilling or unable to act in a civilized manner. These are the irrational ones. Using the labels liberal or conservative to describe these people is really not an accurate representation, and it’s unfair to the majority of rational people.

          There are also people on either side who disagree with certain politicians or issues for reasons that are not political, such as dishonesty, ethics violations, gross unfairness, etc. This is a very large group, these days. This is another area where party labels are often misused for those we don’t agree with.

          In any case, if we are out there and we’re interacting with others with extreme labels, judgment, disrespect, or prejudice and trying to justify it by blaming “the other side” for their equally rude behavior then we are part of the problem instead of part of the solution. Like when we visit sites on social media and get hooked in to the anger, and then just continue to spread it to others by claiming we were “offended”.

          If you get offended when you visit a certain place and cannot respond in a civilized manner, then you are part of the problem and will attract the same kind of people. The solution is “don’t go there”. If one is able to visit a site and debate things back and forth without resorting to offensive labels, judgment, or prejudice, they will be welcome and will attract other reasonable people.

          We receive the fruits of the seeds we sow, and if our view of others is distorted by judgment or prejudice or intolerance, then that is the only way we will be seen by others.

      • Edward, anywhere you go on social media, conservatives are always screaming, crying, and hollering about the belief systems of mainstream Christians and Progressives! That is especially true when it comes to the LGBTQ community and abortion!

      • Edward M. … the Blog Host is predisposed to sarcastic, judgmental, critical writings, rooted in pre-existing anger & rage. [ I guess it’s his blog, so its ok for him. ]

  20. Some need to “drop out” for their well being. I had a kidney transplant and need to monitor my blood pressure regularly. If I continued to be engaged in trump and his gang of billionaires, putin, and wall street cronies, I would have not only destroyed my new kidney but may have likely caused a stroke. I’m sorry. I just can’t.

    • In that case, I would agree and I would say that the rest of us need to make up for it. I hope you are doing well. Peace………

      • Well put, Kathleen, and I agree.

        I don’t think that you and I are all that far apart in age, so it’s a little bit hard for me to picture you as “a little old grandma”. All I can say is that I sure as hell wouldn’t want to pick on you – you are always right on target, and you’ve got the wisdom and experience to back it up.

        I’ve got your back, friend.

        • That my friend is very comforting. I thank you, this has become my safe and sane place and it’s nice to know that when the bullies start there are those who do have your back. For what its worth, back at you. By the way, I am 75 and not ashamed to admit it. Pleased to still be here and have most of my senses. Peace…………………

      • Thank you for understanding, Kathleen. This is a difficult time for our democracy and I so appreciate that those who can, do. Those of us who can’t (for whatever reason) are appreciative. Strength!

        • I have always thought that the cheerleaders are as important as the players. We need both. Sometimes we are one and the other times the other. I think it’s called showing up. We all do it differently at different times. Peace……………..

    • Anonymous, take it easy. I suggest a six month, self-enforced sabbatical from internet politics. Whenever you find yourself wanting to “go there”, find some way to treat yourself for realizing the urge and beating it. No lie. Note the sixth month mark on a calendar so you can remind yourself how close you are getting, but wait the full six months.

      Sure, there will be times the news makes you want to dip back in – DON’T! It is a trick. One … two … three dips and then you are back to cliff-diving into the cesspit.

      Give yourself those cleansing, healing six months. Recoup and relax, knowing you will return at a point and time you have set for yourself. You aren’t giving up on anyone and no one with a lick of sense can blame you.

      The next big test will be the Primary contests leading up to the 2018 mid-terms anyway ~ Congress. Steal yourself for that fight and those discussions and figuring out who is the best possible, or least caustic, person in the race.

      Set that goal, keep to it, reward yourself for resisting and the sixth months will pass. Best of luck to you.

  21. Everyone needs the peace that pass’s all understanding.
    In this time of the news media trying to socially direct you at every moment. I find the only solace is to shut off the TV, Disconnect all outside influence, Pray to My God who gives me this Peace . And Read The Bible and get wisdom and understanding.
    Truth sets you Free, Lies Bind you in a endless confusion of what is , what should be, and who really knows, or cares.
    The Confusion of the world is a direct result of so many False Gods, and False Religions .
    I like to feel all is Bliss in my little world.
    The Politics , Lies, Deception of the News Media and Social Eng. of the Education System which by the way is Anti God.
    When you Take a stand , Stand Back , Turn your eyes to God and To Jesus Christ who is the Author of Your Faith, and Salvation. You have a peace to know that the battle is Gods and it is a spiritual battle for the hearts and mind s of the world.
    NOT YOUR PROBLEM
    God is truly aware, in control, and at work to bring all mankind to justice, Holiness, and a true opportunity to step out of the sin that so easily takes hold of us all.
    Peace Thru stepping back, seeking God, and turning off the deceptive news media , who by the way is Told how to , where to , when to report the news. They are not allowed to go outside of their authority . Censored for Ratings, Drama, What sells
    Have a Blessed Day with love , Puppies, People , Friends, Family

    • Well, the day you become F-ing holy in this world, you might have something worth listening to—but right now—you are just another fundie spouting the same old tired, worn out, and filled with lies fundie message. Lies have become your trademark—which is just one good reason almost no one wants anything to do with you fundies.

      JESUS—YES. FUNDIES—NO

      Now write that 500 times so you will remember it and visit me at the following safe link:

      https://faith17983.wordpress.com/

  22. All excellent, valid points. But there is a limit to the human ability to absorb/respond to bad news. (Remember “compassion fatigue”?). Rather than overwhelm readers with the evils of the day, suggest that they become involved in 1 or 2 causes in which they can make a difference. Leaving room for the sun and fresh air that babies and puppies bring with them…

  23. Ha! I agree 100% yet for me it was a both/and. As a single mom who has 4 boys, all who came to the US as refugees it’s intensely personal. As a single mom who utilizes the free/reduced lunch, whose children use Medicaid, who has a child with a disability, it’s personal. As a woman who works in refugee resettlement, it’s personal- both because of the people I work with daily and because of the absence of job security. All those things together are just TOO MUCH. So, I got a puppy! We all desperately needed something to love and who loves us back. Something to pet and find comfort in. I said it was a therapy dog for my boys, but it’s just as much a therapy puppy for me.

    • Good for you, puppies can be the best therapy ever. From a dog lover thanks, as a mother of sons, best thing you can do for them. Peace…

  24. Thanks again, John
    Not only is ‘being nice (but not involved) not enough, it is worse than nothing. Most churches let us get by by allowing and encouraging us to believe that BELIEF is what Christianity is all about. I’m afraid they are historically correct. For 1700 years that has been the way it has been.
    That is why churches are dying. And well they should. It is time for those of us who are trying to actually FOLLOW the Way of Jesus, to call-out the smallness of the orthodox way, to see the harm it is doing by allowing and encouraging people to think that that small understanding is what Jesus said and did, lived and died for.
    In my opinion and life, it has become clear that I no longer can waste time giving the old (and dead) church any more of my life. But where are others with which to share and join? Who seek the ‘More’ without the smallness and lies of the past? Who will commune, share, question, laugh and cry me? I can’t grow on my own. But better to be on my own, most of the time, than become more sad and discouraged within today’s churches.

  25. John Pavlovitz, I know you are accused of all manner of apostasy and negativity, but you give me more hope than any ten other voices. Thank you for having “a heart that never hardens and a temper that never tires, and a touch that never hurts.”

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